In an exclusive poll conducted by SurveyMonkey, Axios reports that just 38 percent of Republicans now have a favorable opinion of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, with 47 percent unfavorable, a hugely different point of view than held by Democrats and, to a lesser extent, independents.
This shows a marked change since a poll taken last year when there was majority bipartisan support for the bureau. According to Mike Allen and Jonathan Swan at Axios, the poll shows that Pr*sident Trump’s “hammering” on the bureau and his okaying the release of the cherry-picked Nunes memo are having an effect helpful to the White House.
The upshot of this trashing of the FBI and the Russia investigation by Trump, his media sycophants, and other pals at the same time his lawyers cooperate with special counsel Robert Mueller III’s team is a continued muddying of public opinion, Allen and Swan write. And the fallout?
The stark new Republican skepticism of the FBI means that Trump has succeeded in preemptively undermining the findings of special counsel Bob Mueller.
- Many Republicans will now see Mueller's report or recommendations as a political document, and the conservative media will portray it that way. [...]
- This is a massive swing from the initial bipartisan accolades for Mueller.
We can only speculate how that swing among Republican citizens will affect the stance of Republicans in Congress regarding the Mueller investigation and, particularly, any move by Trump to fire or force the resignation of Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who oversees Mueller. At least one Republican, Rep. Ron DeSantis of Florida, says the Nunes memo makes it likely Rosenstein will be asked to return to Congress for more testimony. Several high-ranking Democrats have said that if Trump does fire Rosenstein, something White House officials have repeatedly denied he is planning to do, it would produce a constitutional crisis.
In fact, that crisis is already underway.